Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes has long been on the top of many arcade cabinet collectors’ lists to get the re-release treatment. Arcade1up has given those fans their wish with its new Marvel vs. Capcom 2 arcade cabinet, bringing the game home with plenty of extras and the promise of online play. Having spent some time with the cabinet, it’s a wonderfully nostalgic game that holds up to the test of time, but there are a few quirks and one unfulfilled promise (at least of writing) that keep it from being a perfect release of the game.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 has earned an almost legendary reputation. Marvel Comics fans love it for its eclectic selection of characters, both icons and deeper cuts from Marvel’s canon. Fighting game fans loved it for its fast-paced three-on-three team combat. And yet, despite its popularity, it is exceedingly hard to find. Debuting in arcades, then ported to Dreamcast, Xbox, and PlayStation 2, it was briefly available digitally for PlayStation 3 and the Xbox One before being delisted. It was also noticeably absent from Arcade1up‘s previous cabinets featuring every other game in the Marvel vs. Capcom series. The issue was reportedly rights issues involving some of the characters, but it seems Arcade1up managed to sort those out long enough to bring this cabinet to market.
I’ve never built an Arcade1up cabinet before but found it wasn’t too difficult to put together as long as I paid careful attention to the instructions. The cabinet, once built, looks stellar, with character artwork of Ryu, Spider-Man, Hulk, and Zangiek on the sides and a light-up marquee. The artwork on the marquee is surprisingly low-res, but it’s only noticeable when up very close and still pops when the cabinet lights up. Arcade1up includes a riser with the game’s logo in the package and a deck protector to keep the game’s controls from being tarnished during play. The buttons and baseball-bat-style joystick feel good, and the top-set speakers pack a punch.
Turning the game on, a custom intro with Hulk and Zangief tossing around the Arcade1up logo greets players. The game sports an impressive library. In addition to Marvel vs. Capcom 2, the cabinet includes all of the game’s predecessors: Marvel vs. Capcom, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes, and X-Men: Children of the Atom. One might think that having Marvel vs. Capcom 2, widely considered the best game in the series, makes the other games redundant, and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is indeed the star. However, I found it refreshing to revisit these older games for a change of pace, to see how the series involved, or to check out their different lineups of characters. The cabinet also includes X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse and Marvel Super Heroes in War of the Gems, which are more curious inclusions since they’re side-scrolling beat’em up akin to Final Fight rather than fighting games. However, since these games aren’t available to purchase anywhere else and there are no apparent drawbacks to their inclusion, it’s hard to complain.
I’m not the type of player who competes in fighting game tournaments, so I can’t speak in that level of detail, but the emulated Marvel vs. Capcom 2 presented in the cabinet plays as I remember it. Combat is fast and fun and never dull. Early in my time with the game, I experienced a couple of moments where the game lagged and seemed like it might crash. It never did, always coming back to speed in a moment or two, but more importantly, I haven’t had those issues since Arcade1up patched the game. One strange bug still popping up is the game’s volume going down even though I’m not touching the physical volume toggle. It’s a rare occurrence, but it is a minor annoyance.
But there’s a bigger problem. I’ve had the cabinet for a couple of months now. Why the delay in reviewing it? Part of it was the chaos of the holiday season, but the only reason it got that far was that I was waiting for a feature to go live: online play. Arcade1up’s Marvel vs. Capcom 2 servers are not online. When contacted about when they’d be live, a representative told me online play is “coming soon,” but did not provide a date or firmer window. I waited, fell into the holiday rush, and here I am in the new year with the servers still not online, which is a shame. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a joy to play, but one can only beat up the computer AI-controlled characters for so long before that joy starts to fade. Online play should alleviate that, but it’s clear when that will come. In the meantime, servers for all previously released fighting games included in the cabinet are live, but that’s only a small consolation. That’s especially true since, knowing the game’s popularity, fans would have to choose between potentially missing out on the cabinet or waiting to see when it became fully functional.
Arcade1up’s Marvel vs. Capcom 2 cabinet is a dream come true for many players, especially casual fans looking to relive past thrills. That the online play is still missing months after release is frustrating, but once those servers come online, little will remain about which to complain.
Read More:Arcade1up’s Marvel vs. Capcom 2 Cabinet Is Almost a Fighting Game Fan’s Dream Come True